Tag Archives: Exposition Examples

Exposition Tips – Part One

Unentertaining.

Unnatural.

Unmemorable.

These are the three enemies of exposition, the three adjectives that most commonly end up describing it. This occurrence seems to be driven by a belief that exposition is inherently boring; the writer ‘knows’ that people hate this stuff and so attempts to get it out the way as quickly and early on as possible.

In the worst cases, the final result is the infamous infodump: a scene in which the audience is smothered with information. This technique is not only unentertaining, unnatural, unmemorable – it is also completely self-defeating, as the boredom induced by it causes the audience to switch off and ignore the stuff they were supposed to be taking in.

JOHN BARROWMAN

Hey, Sy, is this a great life or what?

THE OTHER GUY

Vida loca, amigo!

JOHN BARROWMAN

Louise pays us to patrol these beaches. You know, one of the guys in the harbour told me about this dive spot which is just crawling with lobsters.

[From Shark Attack 3: Megalodon]

(Actually, it’s such a notoriously poor technique that it’s really hard to find genuine examples of it anymore, possibly because scripts that feature them just don’t get made.)

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Exposition doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, learn to tame it, control it and it’ll put you streets ahead of the vast majority of screenwriters. First-

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Exposition Tips – Part Two

With spoilers for: The Dark Knight

Part One of Exposition Techniques.

8. Immersion

You know how Inception begins with a dream within a dream. That’s a perfect example of the immersion technique for me. Create a world, put the audience in the middle of it and let them figure it all out for themselves.

It sounds risky, but I don’t think it’s nearly as dangerous as people think. After all, we learn language this way. Most of your vocabulary comes from hearing how words are used, then deducing their meanings from that. You don’t need a lexicographer to tell you how to communicate.

Unconvinced? Well, try watching a film half of the way in and see how well you can follow it. Sure, it’ll be harder to understand, and a lot of scenes might lose their tension and emotional kick. But you’ll probably be able to make sense of it a lot more easily than you’d imagine. I started watching Lost half-way into the first series and I can’t remember feeling all that confused.

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